Winter is a hellish time. The extra effort it takes to cover every square inch of your body with clothing is murder on my carefully planned mornings: wake up, unload dishwasher while coffee brews, shower, throw on dress and boots. But now I also have to figure out tights and a coat? That's a flag on the play.
I do actually like winter for about 3 weeks -- wearing sweaters and hoodies is different, fun and cozy. Plus, it's so much easier to have a jacket on 24/7 because you can stash things in the pockets. Oh, and capes! You get to wear capes in the winter like a babe-ly Sherlock Holmes.
Joan Rivers "Wrapped in Style" capes, $84.00.
Joan is not without her flaws -- but then, no celeb (or human being, actually) I've ever met is. I randomly bought one of her capes from QVC last year and have gotten a hilarious amount of wear out of it. It then inspired me to buy two more capes, and they really do crank your style up a notch -- even if you're just going to the grocery store. Drama cleanup in aisle seven!
There is a large anti-cape contingent that claims capes are hard to wear and unflattering. Pay them no mind, because a sleek cape with gold buttons or a smart belt is one of the most chic things a girl could wear.
Brass-buttoned capes, $70.00.
Belted Capes, $88.00.
I'm cold all the time, and wearing a cape instead of a bulky coat means you can leave it on indoors or at the dinner table and stay warm while not looking ridiculous. A cape is also far more elegant than a coat when draped over your arm at a cocktail party. A great wool cape keeps your body toasty while allowing your arms and armpits to breathe! (I'm always freezing yet sweating at the same time like some sort of creature.)
Wool capes, $62.00-$149.00.
Those of you who live in bone-chilling climates may only be able to employ the cape for a fancy evening out or a cocktail party, when your trek from curb to door is mercifully short. But I find capes actually keep me warmer than a regular coat, because I can tuck my arms in and snuggle them around my stomach for extra body heat.
The simple, oversized, wooly dream of a cape below is only $70.00 and comes in sizes up to a 5X.
Wool cape coats up to size 5X, $70.00 each.
A happy medium between a heavy wool cape and a bulky sweater is a swingy knit sweater cape or poncho. It's simply the coziest garment going.
Sweater capes, $35.00-$148.00.
I've found really good capes and ponchos at Avenue every year. It's actually my very first stop when I'm looking for a fancy wrap for an evening look.
Avenue fancy capes, $35.00.
I'm loving these classic blanket-style ponchos the Avenue also has right now for just $34.99 each.
Faux ruanas, $34.99.
I really wish they hadn't felt the need to call them "Ruanas," as a ruana is a very specific artisan garment made in Columbia by Muisca Indians. Ruanas are historically made of 100% sheep wool, while The Avenue has rendered their "faux-ruanas" in 100% acrylic.
I do have one single cape caveat -- it's a bit hard to carry a shoulder bag while wearing one. This isn't a problem if you are wearing your cape for evening, as you can just carry a clutch, but a day bag is a little more difficult. You'll need a good top-handle bag for easy carrying.
I spent an inordinate amount of time at my local Zara store making sure my computer, file folders and regular purse junk fit into the shopper-style bags below. (It was when I started snapping pix of my personal effects in said bags that the salesgirl finally asked me to leave. Until that point, she'd only been staring at me as if I was a hopeless nerdling.)
Zara top-handle bags, $36.00-$100.00.
Does it get too cold for a cape to suffice where you live? Are you stuck wearing a puffy parka just to stay alive? Tell me your winter-wear horror stories, they make me want to lie quietly in a warm tomb.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison